Monthly Archives: June 2016

New Cereal Brand – Tiny Toast


It seems we’ve heard it all our lives – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, the consumption of breakfast foods such as cereal has been declining. Some articles even go so far as to state that eating cereal takes too much work and time in the morning (all that pouring of cereal and milk takes time!). Yet, the breakfast food category remains strong even though it is mature.

General Mills has developed a new brand of breakfast cereal called “Tiny Toast.” This is the first new brand from the company in 15 years. The cereal pieces are shaped like toast (of course) and come in flavors including strawberry and blueberry and pieces are covered with sprinkles of real fruit. There are no artificial flavors or colors, and no high-fructose corn syrup. Each serving has 13 grams of whole grains – and 9 grams of sugar.

Breakfast, anyone?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss food habits and breakfast consumption with students.
  2. Poll students: Who eats breakfast each day? What do they eat? What cereals do they consume?
  3. Show the Web site for the new product:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review the product. What products are competitors?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for the new product.
  4. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  5. Debrief exercise.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune,, other news sources

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Elevated Bus for Commuting in China


Traffic! It seems that there are more cars than ever on the road these days, causing congestion, frustration, and a drag on energy consumption, not to mention accidents and delays. And the more populous cities have it even worse than smaller areas. Just consider the traffic and number of commuters travelling in the world’s most crowded areas.

China has a new solution for the problem – a Transit Elevated Bus (TEB). Think of TEB as an above-ground subway that is suspended above the road (using rails) while cars drive beneath it. In prototypes, the passenger compartment sits above other vehicles that are directly on the road below. By allowing cars to drive beneath the bus, it increases how roads are used.

Each bus has the capacity to carry 1,200 passengers and is powered by solar energy. Costs of the units are estimated at $4.5 million each which is one-fifth the construction cost of a subway system. Tentative plans are to have trial units operational in the second-half of 2016 in Qinhuangdao City in a northern province of China.

Why drive when you could ride on TEB?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss transportation and commuting with students. What are the problems currently faced?
  2. Show the video of the elevated bus: (short video) and (longer video).

  1. Discuss how this product could impact traffic and commuting habits.
  2. Discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop five SMART objectives for TEB implementation.

Source: New York Times, CCTV


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Smart Running Shoes


There is no doubt about it – wearable technology is the wave of the future. Combined with the Internet of Things (IoT), technology is impacting multiple devices in our daily lives from refrigerators, thermostats, cars, and now continues into athletic apparel such as running shoes.

A new prototype running shoe from Lenovo is one of the latest wearable tech entries. The smart lifestyle running shoes contains a rechargeable device the can track movement, count steps, record calories, distance, measure activity, and more. The customizable insole can be printed on a 3D printer to fit your unique footprint.

The smart shoe also has options that will allow it to play games (using foot movement as the controller) along with personalized news updates at the touch of a button. No word yet on exactly how the shoe will link to other devices such as smart phones.

And, when you’re done with your daily run, go ahead and put the shoe into its own wireless charging dock to get ready for another day’s activity.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their athletic gear and habits. How many students have some type of tracking device for runs and workouts? Which devices do they have, and how satisfied are students with the devices?
  2. Next, show the video of the new shoe:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid for this product. (Make sure students select a target market first. Different target markets would have different message pyramids.)
  4. When debriefing the exercise, make sure to emphasize to students the difference between what a company wants to tell the market, and what a customer wants to hear about the product.

Source: Manufacturing Business Technology, The Verge

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